Five things you need to know before the market opens on Tuesday, November 8:
1. — Stock Futures Edge Higher With Mid-Terms In Focus
U.S. equity futures edged cautiously higher Tuesday, while the dollar held gains against its global peers, as investors kept risk appetite in check ahead of crucial mid-term elections that could set the tone for market performance over the coming year.
All 435 House seats, 220 of which are currently held by Democrat lawmakers, are up for grabs Tuesday, with 35 Senate races, 21 of which are Republican, also being contested. A collection of non-partisan polls suggest Republican candidates win a majority in the House, and pick up as many as three seats in the Senate following Tuesday’s vote.
The likelihood of a Republican sweep, and a divided government over the second half of President Joe Biden’s term in office, helped stocks book solid gains Monday as investors looked to historical data suggesting that the S&P 500 has outperformed over the six months following mid-term votes, compared to its prior six month record, in seventeen of the nineteen mid-term elections since 1946.
Developments in China overnight, however, as well as the chances of a Democratic upset later today, are keeping early gains in check. Health officials in Beijing reported a 36% increase in Covid infections, which now total around 7,500, spread across a growing number of cities in the world’s biggest economy.
The increase suggests the country’s ‘zero Covid’ policies are likely to remain in place for the foreseeable future, brining lockdowns, plant closures and further supply chain disruptions alongside.
Benchmark Treasury bond yields were on the rise in overnight dealing, lifting 10-year note yields to 4.216% ahead of a $40 billion auction on Wednesday, while the U.S. dollar index was marked 0.28% higher against a basket of its global peers at 110.432.
Heading into the start of the trading day on Wall Street, futures contracts tied to the S&P 500 are priced for a modest 10 point gain while those linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average are set for a 70 point bump. The tech focused Nasdaq is called 55 higher.
In overseas markets, China stocks gave back early gains on the back of the accelerating Covid infections, pulling the region-wide MSCI ex-Jan index lower, but still in the green with a 0.42% gain.
In Europe, the Stoxx 600 gained 0.15% as it closely-tracked U.S. equity futures while Britain’s FTSE 100 was marked 0.31% lower in the opening hours of trading in London as the pound advanced to 1.1474 against the dollar.
2. — Nvidia Jumps On Report of New Chip Designed for China Market
Nvidia NVDA shares moved firmly higher in pre-market trading following a report suggesting the chipmaker had developed a new semiconductor it could sell to customers in China without violating new U.S. export restrictions.
The report from Reuters, later confirmed by the company, said the advanced A800 graphics processing unit (GPU) could be used in place of A100 chips made by Nvidia that are currently on the list of technologies banned from sale in China by the U.S. government.
Nivida said in September that it had booked $400 million sales — around 11% of expected data center revenues — of A100-linked products to China that could be scrapped it clients won’t purchase alternative products.
Nvidia shares were marked 1.32% higher in pre-market trading to indicate an opening bell price of $144.90 each.
3. — Lyft Plummets After Q3 Loss, Muted Near-Term Outlook
Lyft (LYFT) shares tumbled lower in pre-market trading after the smaller ride-sharing rival to Uber Technologies (UBER) posted a surprise third quarter loss and a disappointing holiday season forecast.
Lyft’s third quarter loss of $1.18 per share, against a Street forecast of a 7 cents per share profit, came amid a muted boost in active riders for the group, which rose 7.2% from last year to 20.3 billion but missed Street forecasts, with revenues per rider up 13.7% to $51.88.
Overall revenues were pegged at $1.054 billion, Lyft said, but that tally will only rise to between $1.15 and $1.17 billion over the final three months of the year, contrasting sharply with Uber’s upbeat forecast from last week.
Lyft shares were marked 19.3% lower in pre-market trading to indicate an opening bell price of $11.41 each.
4. — Activision Gets Q3 Bump From Call Of Duty; Confident on Microsoft Deal
Activision Blizzard (ATVI) shares edged higher in pre-market trading after the video game maker posted stronger-than-expected third quarter earnings late Monday and said its planned $69 billion takeover by Microsoft MSFT is expected to be completed by the middle of next year.
The Call of Duty and Candy Crush maker said GAAP earnings fell 33% from last year to 55 cents per share, beating Street forecasts, with adjusted revenues down 7.7% to $1.735 billion.
Activision said Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II was the first of its flagship franchise to top the $1 billion sell-through mark, with hours played in the first 10 days more than 40% above the prior franchise record.
“We look forward to continuing to release epic entertainment in service of our global community of players as a part of Microsoft, one of the world’s most admired companies,” he added. “We continue to expect that our transaction will close in Microsoft’s current fiscal year ending June 2023.”
Activision shares were marked 0.56% higher in pre-market trading to indicate an opening bell price of $71.50 each.
5. — Disney Q4 Earnings Will Focus on Subscriber Gains, Hulu Purchase Plans
Walt Disney (DIS) shares nudged higher in pre-market trading ahead of the media and entertainment group’s fourth quarter earnings after the closing bell.
Disney, which has been in a back-and-forth battler with Netflix for the title of world’s biggest streaming platform, is expected to post earnings of 54 cents per share for the three months ending in September, a 46% increase from last year, on revenues of $21.247 billion.
Overall streaming subs, which hit a record 152.1 billion last quarter, are expected to rise by 8.9 million, down from the 14.4 million added over the three months ending in June.
Under pressure from activist investor Dan Loeb, who eventually backed-down from his call to have the group sell its ESPN sports broadcasting network, Disney shares have held up reasonably well over the past six months, falling around 6% in comparison to a 4.2% decline for the S&P 500 benchmark.
CEO Bob Chapek, who has said ESPN can ultimately lever is market-leading position into revenue generation from sports better, is also poised to to purchase the 33% stake in streaming service Hulu owned by Comcast (CMCSA) sometime next year.
Disney shares were marked 0.14% higher in pre-market trading to indicate an opening bell price of $100.57 each.